- 1 Season
Banished is a historical drama series set in Australia in the late 18th century. The six-part series depicts the harsh lives of the first British convicts who were transported to the penal colony of New South Wales. The show focuses on the lives of the convicts as they struggle to survive under the strict rule of Governor Arthur Phillip (David Wenham). The main characters are Elizabeth Quinn (Orla Brady), an Irishwoman who is sentenced for stealing food to feed her family; Private James Freeman (MyAnna Buring), a young woman disguised as a man to join the army and escape her past; and Tommy Barrett (Julian Rhind-Tutt), a flamboyant tailor who is exiled for being a homosexual.
The series also features notable performances from Ewen Bremner as Reverend Johnson, a conflicted man of God, Ryan Corr as second lieutenant Corporal MacDonald, a conflicted man of war, and Russell Tovey as Corporal Marston, a conflicted man of loyalty.
The show is set in the early days of the colony, a time before the settlement of Sydney and before the arrival of more convicts who would lead to a more established colony. The land is untamed, the food supply is scarce and the heat is unbearable. The convicts toil under the hot Australian sun, building huts and cultivating gardens while they face constant danger from the harsh environment and the Aboriginal tribes.
The show is a powerful portrayal of colonialism and imperialism that shines a light on the less covered territory of Australia's beginnings as a British colony. It explores the morality and consequences of sending convicts to a foreign land without the resources or means to survive. It also questions the role of religion, law and punishment in a society where survival was the primary goal.
The series paints a vivid picture of the realities of colonial life, from the cramped quarters on the convict ships to the brutal punishments inflicted on those who disobey the strict rules. It also shows the bonds that are formed between the convicts, and how a sense of community develops despite the harsh circumstances.
The show is well-written and well-acted. The main characters are complex and multi-layered and the supporting characters are equally engaging. The plot is slow-burning, allowing time for character development and world-building. The show allows the audience to experience the claustrophobic conditions of life in 1788 New South Wales while also providing moments of humanity and hope.
In conclusion, Banished is a show that deserves far more attention in the canon of historical dramas. It illuminates a neglected aspect of Australian history and presents a nuanced and emotionally engaging portrayal of the earliest days of British colonization in Australia. Its powerful themes of survival, community, and morality will stay with audiences long after the final credits roll.
Banished is a series that is currently running and has 1 seasons (8 episodes). The series first aired on March 5, 2015.